Donâ€™t read this book if youâ€™re looking for answers. You wonâ€™t find a blueprint for life. It doesnâ€™t speculate about causes, cures, or strategies. It wonâ€™t tell you how to help your depressed spouse, how to manage your drugs, or convince you to take them at all. It will only tell you how it felt for Terri Cheney, and her story may give you reference points - a guide to understanding how it feels for others who live with manic depression.
It is a cautionary tale. The ending is hopeful, if only because she survived. The compromises sheâ€™s made to reach this point are, perhaps, unpalatable. If you are inclined to read accounts of car-crash lives in order to make you feel complacent in your own sanity, remember the statistics. Itâ€™s closer than you think.
I realise I really want my review to do this book justice. I really want lay-psychiatrists to read it. I really want armchair psychologists to spend a few pages getting under the skin of this illness and to walk a mile in Terri Cheneyâ€™s shoes. I need those who would disregard the experiences as unbelievable to embrace the absurdity of life with bipolar, and to cross over into a different dimension where the rules simply donâ€™t apply.
Only then will you free your compassion.